"Love doesn't live here anymore," she said.
Confused, Hope apologised and slowly walked away, not knowing his destination. He went wherever his feet took him. Lost in his thoughts, at one point he didn’t know whether he was exploring the town or his own mind.
Somehow, he ended up having tea with his past.
It has been a while since they last met. They were wonderful together, but one day being apart became better than being together. Past had many faces. Each of them possessed their own beauty. Every time Hope looked at her, he saw a different face.
As he was reminiscing their extinguished flame, Past reached for his hand and lightly squeezed it. "We were happy, but temporary. We weren't wrong. We were right at the time, but our time ran out. Permanent happiness is what we deserve.”
She let go of his hand and gave him a weak smile, probably out of pity. He nodded, not because her words were something he agreed with, but something he was only learning to understand, and more importantly, accept. They said their goodbyes, and Past left. She slowly faded with each step, as if the very particles of her being were dispersing into thin air. Vivid, blurry, then finally, gone. Just like the way she slowly disappeared from his life.
He was alone once again. To the world, he was alone all along. Truth is, Past visited his thoughts once in a while, but never his reality. Perhaps it was better that way.
Sipping his tea, he found himself contemplating on the girl he met earlier. Who was she? And why was she residing at Love's address? The poor girl barely lifted her face, and her voice was slow, almost like a whisper. She seemed eager to close the door. Perhaps she had had some unpleasant guests before, causing her to be wary, and not inviting. He wanted to insist on finding Love there, but he didn't know what Love looked like.
He took out a crumpled picture from his jacket pocket. It was a picture of a beautiful white house, with a garden filled with roses. There was something about the house that made it glow. At the back of the picture were an address and a note. “You will find Love here,” it said. It was signed by Instinct.
Instinct was one of Hope’s best friends. They lived in an apartment together with their other close friend, Reason. Living together can be a challenge sometimes, but in a way, they balance each other. Hope doesn’t know where Instinct got Love’s address. Instinct had a way of getting information, but he never exposes his sources. Sometimes, the information is correct. Other times, not. But one thing Hope learned through experience is that whatever Instinct said, it’s worth a shot. Reason always analyzed Instinct’s crazy ideas, usually insisting that it’s impossible, stupid, or something else. Unfortunately for him, Instinct is very persuasive, and Hope is wishful, easily persuaded. At least, whenever Reason ended up being right, he had the luxury of saying “I told you so.”
He almost didn’t recognize the house when he visited earlier. There was no glow, but rather an air of misery. The blooming garden was replaced with remains of wilted plants. The lush green grass that covered the earth was dry and brown. There was a letterbox at the gates of the house, with envelopes overflowing from it. They were letters addressed to Love. The house looked deserted, but he knocked on its door anyways. Even if Love wasn’t there, it was where she once was, he thought. That’s better than nothing. He was determined to find Love, and this was his first stop in his quest.